Alfa Group and BASF merge in a giant joint venture

The combined oil and gas company Wintershall DEA, which Alfa Group co-owners create together with BASF, will cost "roughly" 20 billion euros, German Khan said. Russian shareholders will receive 33% in it.
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Wintershall DEA, whose creation LetterOne (manages the foreign assets of shareholders of Alfa Group) and German BASF agreed in December 2017, "may cost approximately € 20 billion," said in an interview with RBC co-owner of Alpha and LetterOne Herman Khan. According to him, the partners retain plans to complete the merger in the second half of this year, and also to hold an IPO in a few years. "Now we are actively working on due dilligence, and we hope that this deal will be finalized," he added.

The transaction involves the merger of the two largest oil and gas companies in Germany, which also operate in Norway, Denmark, South America, North Africa and Russia (Wintershall has several joint projects with Gazprom), namely, the incorporation of DEA assets owned by LetterOne, to BASF's subsidiary Wintershall. In the combined company BASF will receive 67%, and LetterOne - 33%. The total revenue of the two companies was € 4.69 billion, EBITDA - € 2.996 billion, follows from the report of BASF and DEA materials. The production of Wintershall in 2017 amounted to 164 million barrels of oil equivalent, DEA - 125 million barrels.

When assessing international oil and gas companies, the multiplier is used in six EBITDA indicators, that is, Wintershall DEA may cost € 18 billion, said RBC analyst Raiffeisenbank Andrei Polishchuk. But with such a high EBITDA margin (63.9%), the estimate may be higher, he admits.

LetterOne acquired the DEA in March 2015 for € 5.1 billion from the German RWE. Then among the applicants for the company was also BASF.

However, at the end of last year, when it became known about the preparation for the merger of DEA and Wintershall, Bloomberg estimated the combined company at € 10 billion. "The cost of oil and gas companies is directly related to the market situation," Khan remarks. At the beginning of last December Brent crude oil cost $ 62.2 per barrel, since then it has jumped to $ 80 per barrel. in the middle of May, and on Monday, June 4, it traded about $ 76.4 / bbl.

But much will depend on how closely the combined company will be able to maintain profitability at a high level, as well as replenish supplies, notes Polishchuk. Based on the data of DEA and Wintershall at the end of 2017, their reserves will last for less than ten years. "We see quite a lot of development opportunities in Mexico, Brazil, again, in Russia, where Wintershall has a good position thanks to cooperation with Gazprom," Khan assures. Wintershall owns a stake in Gazprom's two operational gas projects - the development of the first block of the Achimov deposits of the Urengoy field and the Yuzhno-Russkoye field.

According to Khan, LetterOne shareholders agreed to merge just for the sustainability of the business. "In the oil and gas business, big players are valued who have greater stability in terms of influence, market conditions and the ability to solve some geological problems that a company may face in a particular field. Therefore, the advantages of a large player - he appears to have significantly more opportunities for development, to enter new regions, "he explained.